The Bottom Line | Page 23

Idaho US State Law Legal System Concept
Idaho US state law, legal system and justice concept with a 3D rendering of a gavel on the Idahoan flag on background.
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Idaho: Model Legislation for the Nation

Student-centered learning is being rolled out in Idaho. During the 2015 session, House Bill 110 passed the Idaho state legislature which mandated the Idaho State Department of Education transfer from the traditional group-based education to what they refer to as “mastery-based education.”  The Idaho State Department of Education website states, “This model will move students away from the current time-based system to a mastery-based system to allow for a more personalized and differentiated learning experience. Mastery Education (ME) requires focus on explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives that will empower students and prepare them for the 21st Century.” This exciting news suggests that Idaho is ready to revamp the system. The state is implementing this legislation exactly the way it should Read More ›

Teacher woman in stress or depression at school classroom
Teacher woman in stress or depression at school classroom, children or students driving her crazy.
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Certified Is Not Qualified

In a guest blog for the Christensen Institute, Ben Kutylo, Co-Founder and President of Fremont Street, writes of the importance on teaching and rethinking the education system with teachers as the focal point.  Discussing a study done last September, Kutylo states, “authors interviewed teachers to discover what motivates them to adopt new approaches to instruction.” He notes that “teaching is the most important factor impacting student learning. Besides parents, educators know students best.” The American Center for Transforming Education shares Kutylo’s aim to improve the quality of our teaching corps. However, the blog neglects one of the biggest issues with our current teachers: the way we select and train our teachers. Kutylo argues that “change efforts [should] start with teachers—rather Read More ›

frustration
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Parental Choice Not School Choice

Jim and Fawn Spady, the creators of the Washington Charter School Resource Center (WCSRC), and the President and Family Council Leadership of Dick’s Drive-In Restaurants are champions for parental choice. During a meeting with the both of them, we discussed the importance of parental choice and the misconstrued messages that come along with choice in education. First is the claim that charter schools rob funds and students from regular public schools. In reality, charter schools are public schools. Even written in Washington State law is the name charter public schools. Charter public schools are funded based on student enrollment, just like other government-run public schools. Charter public schools do not add any new costs to the state’s public education system. Read More ›

Jackson Mississippi Skyline
Jackson, Mississippi, USA skyline over the Capitol Building.
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Overworked, Underappreciated, and Underpaid?

In Mississippi, where public schools continue to struggle, the House of Representatives has raised teacher pay on average by $4,000, starting in 2020. However, the final approval reduced the increase to $1,500 in the first year of the raise. It is now up to the Governor to approve or veto the raise for the state’s public school teachers. In Jackson Free Press, author Ashton Pittman outlines the situation at hand: “Mississippi ranks near the bottom for teacher pay nationally, and the legislature consistently underfunds education. That has led to an exodus of teachers from the state, creating a growing teacher-shortage crisis.” Undoubtedly this is a significant issue and it surely is hurting Mississippi’s children. But what if there was a Read More ›

Washington State Capitol Building
Washington State Capitol Building
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Washington Legislator Champions for Most Vulnerable

Former Washington State Representative, Paul Graves, is a true hero for foster children within this state. Foster children are some of Washington’s most vulnerable and on any assumed night there are roughly 10,000 kids in foster care in Washington. When Paul was in the legislature in the 2017-18 biennium, he worked on House bill 3010, which would have created a foster student scholarship program for children and youth in foster care, this giving them the option to attend the public or private school of their caregiver’s choice. Unfortunately, the bill was introduced too late into session and had not been able to make it out of committee. However, in this legislative session, a new State Representative, Chris Corry (R-Yakima) has Read More ›

Parents checking children homework
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Parents’ Imperative Responsibility

Government action is not going to rectify our failing educational system. Instead of throwing more money at schools, especially intercity schools, it is essential to have more family action within education. There needs to be a return of parental responsibility in schools. The idea that kids are failing in intercity schools simply because of bad teachers is untrue. Many intercity teachers are doing a marvelous job even in a broken educational system. “America 2000”, signed into law in 1994 and a product of a 1989 educational summit held by the late President George H.W. Bush and chaired by soon-to-be President Bill Clinton, reinforced the importance of a child’s parents in the educational process. The report stated that “Today’s young Americans Read More ›

Wide view of the boise capital building
Boise capital building shot with fisheye then corrected or distortion.
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Money Should Follow the Students

As reported by IdahoEdNews.org the Idaho state legislature has been grappling with vacating the 25-year-old education funding formula in Idaho. Originally crafted in the House by Representative Clow, the 59-page draft was an excellent starting point for changing the funding system. However, the House bill has effectively been killed due to the omission of a couple minor edits that some felt were necessary. Now the scene has shifted to the Senate. The two funding-formula bills have “a lot more commonality” than differences, Senator Mortimer stated when hearing the news about the House action taken. The bill introduced in the Senate would vacate the old funding model (an antiquated method of funding K-12 schools solely based on attendance or seat time) Read More ›

Flags Fly Night Falls Austin Texas Capital Building Motion
Flags blow in the wind after night falls on the state capital grounds in Austin
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Inputs vs Outputs

Sadly, K-12 education all too often focuses on measuring inputs rather than measuring outputs. However, Texas may soon change this archetype.  A new proposal in Texas’s state legislature shifts the focus to rewarding school districts with stronger outcomes. In an article on Education Week, staff writer Daarel Burnette II states, “Texas is proposing to, in effect, flip that model on its head by spending more money on districts that meet certain state standards and less money on those that don’t.”  Discovery Institute’s American Center for Transforming Education is attentive to education developments in Texas, as the state’s desire to improve education makes them a good candidate for implementing many of the other education reforms we recommend. As Don Nielsen points Read More ›

oldest school house Saint augustine florida
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Florida is Taking Education Head On

A crucial education bill is brewing in the Florida Senate. As noted by Emily L. Mahoney in the Tampa Bay Times, the Senate intends to have the policy “filed as one, large package bill by the first week of the legislative session, which [began] March 5.” The bill is significant because it provides a framework for how to reform K-12 education to achieve greater effectiveness. Three key highlights outlined in the article are of great interest to Discovery: The Family Empowerment Scholarship creates a new school voucher intended to reduce the list of low-income children awaiting the existing tax credit scholarships. However, to make vouchers work, there needs to be excess capacity in the school system. In other words, high-quality Read More ›

first day at school. mother leads little child school girl in first grade
first day at school. mother leads a little child school girl in first grade
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Parental Choice

The American Center for Transforming Education believes the education of the child is a fundamental responsibility of the family. Although parental choice in education is widely available to those with financial resources, poorer families are left behind. School choice will allow all families to fulfill their responsibility as parents, regardless of socioeconomic status, by choosing the school that best meets their children’s needs. Empowering parents strengthens both schools and communities. However, school choice currently only applies  to a small percentage of students, as noted above. Don Nielsen, Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute, points out that “innovation and creativity are much more likely to occur in a charter school than in a traditional public school…until we are able to deregulate our public Read More ›